Freshwater Bay & Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Our Isle of Wight Adventure was drawing to a close and we decided to spend another day oot n aboot on the bikes.

We found what looked to be an interesting circular cycling route on the Wightlink website.  It turned out to be very scenic and without many steep hills (just two I think) – result!  The route involved a combination of road, off road and cycle track.

9-mile cycle route Yarmouth – Freshwater Bay 🚲

We picked the route up outside the site at the top of Heathfield Road (just up from Colwell Road on the map), turning left and following the road down through Totland and on towards Freshwater Bay.  There are old smuggler caves in this bay that can be seen at low tide.  Today though, the action seemed to be mostly water sports enthusiasts.

We sat at the bay for a while before carrying on through the hamlet of Afton, after which we turned onto the cycleway which carried us along into Yarmouth.  This part was a gentle ride alongside the picturesque River Yar Estuary.

On arrival at Yarmouth we reached ‘Off The Rails’, a cafe/restaurant located within the old Yarmouth Railway Station.  It’s furnished very much in keeping with its rail history.  We stopped here for a drink and sat at a table outside on the old platform imagining the station back in its day.

https://www.offtherailsyarmouth.co.uk/

Afterwards, we continued into the bustling Yarmouth Harbour which is pretty and lively with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, etc to keep you occupied.

https://www.yarmouth-harbour.co.uk/

Basically, our afternoon was spent in the Harbour area wandering and watching boats come and go.  Two places we visited and would recommend for food/drink are:-

Salty’s – a quirkily appealing bar with a separate restaurant.  We only went into the bar section downstairs which was very welcoming and relaxed with long tables and long bench seating creating a very sociable feel.  Visitors can write on the ceiling (so obviously we did!) which is painted over every 2 years so that there’s always space for visitors to leave their mark.  Upstairs is the seafood restaurant and we’d love to try this out on a future visit.

https://www.saltysrestaurant.co.uk/

Bugle Coaching Inn – 16th century inn in the Market Square.   Despite being very busy  we somehow managed to find a table and enjoyed a lovely meal there.

https://www.characterinns.co.uk/the-bugle-coaching-inn

Obviously there are loads more places but there’s only so much us two could eat/drink during one afternoon/evening there 😬.

By evening there was another lovely sunset over the boats in the Harbour which we captured before cycling back to site over Bridge Road.  There’s quite a steep section after this point where we pushed our bikes up before re-mounting to finish off the short ride back to site.

Sunset over Yarmouth Harbour

All this fresh air and exercise out and about was making us sleep very well! 😴.

On the final day of our holiday we decided to chill out beside Jolly and soak up some of the glorious sunshine 😎 as we’d been on the move pretty much since we arrived.  The site wasn’t over busy and so we enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful afternoon.  We also started to pack up some things in preparation for leaving the next morning.

By late afternoon, we’d decided that our final meal for this visit had to be back at The Hut in Colwell Bay.  So we pre-booked a table online and walked there as the bikes had been loaded back up onto the back of Jolly.  It was about a 2 mile walk to The Hut and back.

The Hut was heaving on arrival but again still seemed to retain just the right atmosphere, and soon quietened down a little after the afternoon rush.  We ate, had a couple of drinks and stayed just long enough to catch the sunset, before returning for an early night in preparation for our long journey home the next day.

The perfect finish to our hollibobs.

Our drive back up took us through the New Forest which looked stunning and had animals roaming freely through the fields and by the roadside.  It’s another place on our lonnnnng ‘To Do’ list.

So, our verdict on the Isle of Wight for a moho adventure ….

FANBLINKINTASTIC!  Obviously the perfect summer weather helped, but the place itself is beautiful with so much more to see and do than we had originally expected of this relatively small island.  Numerous camping sites/touring parks to allow easy exploration of all areas of the island.  The South is considered the more tourist-popular side of the island, but we found the North equally appealing.   We came back having fallen in love with the place and knowing that we must return to explore it some more.

Ahhh, I’m all blogged out after this trip and Jolly’s parked up having a rest … but not for long 😉.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Heathfield Farm Camping Park, Freshwater & Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

So, after a fab 4-night stay at Southland C&MC Site we set off for Heathfield Farm Camping Park at Norton Green just outside Freshwater.

https://www.heathfieldcamping.co.uk/index.php

That morning, we saw our first bit of rain since arriving on the island but it didn’t get heavy or last for very long.  On arrival at Heathfield, we checked in with the wardens, were given some information about the site and local area, filled Jolly up with water and then followed the warden who led us to our pitch (no. 12).  We had pre-booked and opted for a large pitch and we certainly got that.  It was huge compared to some sites.  Plenty of privacy space to enjoy the sunshine which did reappear soon enough 😎.

That afternoon we decided to explore the area on our bikes.  We turned left out of site to the top of Heathfield Road, turned left again and followed the road down until we came to a sign for Colwell Bay which is located between Totland & Yarmouth.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/colwell-bay-p968881

There are good views of mainland England from the bay and to the right as you look out you can see Fort Albert, a Victorian gun tower.  You can also walk further along the sea wall to Totland Bay (approx. 1.5 miles).

http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/south_east/fort_albert.html

On arrival at the bay we passed a cafe by the beach and as we reached the sea wall/prom we looked to our left and saw a row of colourful beach huts.  These huts can be hired out for the day.

In between the rows of beach huts, we came across ‘The Hut’ which is a restaurant/bar.  This turned out to be the best find of our whole holiday eatery-wise.  We bought a drink and sat at an outside table on the front terrace looking out across the Solent.  The sun had reappeared by this time and we kicked back, relaxed and just watched the boats coming and going.  The chill out lounge music being played was spot on for the setting.

The Hut offers a collection service for people arriving by boat, bringing them in to shore and this appeared to be a popular service.  We saw several groups of people arriving from the mainland to eat here.

We had originally only intended to have a drink before venturing further afield but we were so pulled in by the whole vibe of the place that we ended up booking a table for our evening meal.  We decided to try our first ever lobster and steak ‘surf and turf’.  It was SENSATIONAL.  Wowzers! 😋 .  Our holiday treat to ourselves.

If we lived locally this would definitely be a regular haunt for us.  The atmosphere was great, lots of groups in party mood but without any rowdiness.  Also couples, a real mix.   It really pulled us in.  One of the best bar restaurants we’ve ever been to (and we’ve been to a few 😉).

Anyway, that was the first day of the second half of our Isle of Wight Adventure.   Next day we planned to visit The Needles at Alum Bay.   Soooo much to see on this beautiful island.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Garlic Farm, Red Squirrel Trail & Sandown, Isle of Wight

Our final day in this area of the Island was spent on our bikes again. This time we cycled just 1.5 miles to the nearby Garlic Farm and shop. It was an interesting visit for garlic lovers and we left safe in the knowledge that we can put garlic in pretty much anything.  In fact somebody tell Peter Kay – garlic beer, it’s the future, we’ve tasted it! 🍻

https://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/

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We then cycled back on ourselves to Landbridge where we joined the ‘Red Squirrel Cycle Trail’ to take us the four miles or so down to Sandown.  It’s a cycle path created over an old railway line so it’s pretty flat for the most part.  The whole trail runs for approx. 23 miles through the countryside from East Cowes down to Sandown.  We look forward to completing the rest of this trail on our next visit to the island.

http://redsquirreltrail.org.uk/the-trail/

Once in Sandown we enjoyed a delicious crab sandwich at The Beach Shack Bar on the Western Esplanade as we soaked up the sun and views, just watching the world go by for a while before riding further along the front to Yaverland.

https://beachshackbar.co.uk/

The beach at Yaverland is considered to be one of the best on the island and is very popular with water sport enthusiasts.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/yaverland-beach-p970111

It turned out to be another glorious sunshiny day.  Absolutely perfect for cycling.  Once off the trail there were a few challenging hills but it was always worth the effort.   There are lots of cycle hire shops hiring out electric bikes for those who might prefer an easier cycling experience on what is known as ‘Bicycle Island’.

By early evening, after a day generally exploring Sandown, we returned.  We rode/walked up the hill back into Newchurch, stopped for a flyer in the Pointer Inn, and then got back to site.  We’d timed it well as the fish n chip van was parked up on site (it visits twice a week), so we ordered our chippy tea, set the table back at Jolly and enjoyed our well earned supper as we watched the sun set.

Sunset over Southland Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

 

Here’s a very short snippet-of-a-video taken along part of the Cycle Trail and on Sandown beach …

The next morning we packed up, waved goodbye to Newchurch, and headed off to Freshwater on the north part the island for the second half of our stay.   Already though, we had fallen in love with the Isle of Wight.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Santon Bridge, Holmrook, Cumbria

The Old Post Office Campsite at Santon Bridge, Holmrook in the Lake District was the destination for our most recent Jolly adventure.  It’s a privately run riverside site comprising both hard standing and grass pitches with the usual facilities.  We used our onboard facilities though.  Some of the pitches overlook the River Irt and we were lucky enough to be allocated one of these, a hard standing with EHU.

Couldn’t fault the location – riverside, countryside and just a short stroll over the bridge to the Bridge Inn pub which serves great food.   We ate here on both nights.

Many people visit this area to climb Scaffell Pike and enjoy the various other walks the area has to offer.   The scenery is truly spectacular in this less touristy western lakes area.

On the Saturday we jumped on our bikes to cycle the undulating country road that runs alongside the shores of Wastwater towards Wasdale Head.  This area has a number of  claims to fame as the home of England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater), smallest church (St Olaf’s) and the biggest liar 🤥.

This was the route we took.  If you look closely you can see I’ve placed faint red bike symbols along the yellow route.  Sorry if it isn’t particularly good you’ll just have to look a bit harder 😛😂

Map of our cycle route

The weather during our stay was fabulously hot and sunny 😎, in fact possibly the best weather we’ve experienced in the Lakes.  We had an active day, but made plenty of time to stop and take in the beauty of the area.   At one point we were sitting on a steep, rocky mound overlooking the lake when we both caught a glimpse out of the corner of our eyes of a cycle helmet rolling and bouncing down the banking … then into the lake  *splash* 💦😳.   Bri enjoyed the feeling of the wind flowing through his locks for the rest of the day.

As you can imagine in such stunning surroundings, there were a lot of photographs to be taken so I’ll stick ‘em in a slide show:-

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We had a well earned pit stop sitting out at the Wasdale Head Inn before our return journey by the same route, with a slight detour into Nether Wasdale.

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Wow, what a weekend made all the more perfect by the weather.  We couldn’t have hoped to see Wasdale in better conditions.  After our little detour on the way home we cycled back to The Bridge Inn next door to camp for some tea before returning to site to relax.

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The next morning was more overcast though still warm as we packed up for home, taking an unintentional route over some fell or other, we know not which (Birker Fell?).  Anyhow, we were pleased to descend back down into Broughton-in-Furness to pick up the ‘A’ roads again.

Yet more great memories made.  Our next adventure will be our annual Jolly June Jaunt.  Bring it on!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Ainsdale & Formby, Nr Southport, Merseyside

Ow do!

We recently visited Willowbank Touring Park in Ainsdale. It’s about 3 miles outside Southport, next door to Formby, and only about an hour further down the coast from where we live so we spent very little time on the road.  It was a rainy day on our arrival but the sun soon appeared.

 

The pitches and facilities at Willowbank are excellent. No choosing your own pitch here though.  As soon as you arrive you’re taken to a pre-allocated pitch. It’s no biggie but it’s always nicer to have the freedom to choose your own. The main road outside the site driveway can get very busy but there’s a path and cycle way running alongside for safe cycling/walking. We could hear quite a bit of traffic noise late into Friday night. This didn’t bother us though, and we found the site to be lovely and ideally situated for our stay. We would happily stay there again.

 

 

For this break we used our bikes to explore the area. The first day we cycled down to Ainsdale beach and through Ainsdale village. It was a very damp and grey day, but this made for some quite atmospheric beach photographs.

 

After a beach wander and cycle around Ainsdale (calling in at a cosy, quaint venue called The Tipple Bar), we cycled to The Sparrowhawk where we enjoyed a cracking evening meal to round off the day. It’s just half a mile from the campsite and a must for a meal if you’re in the area.

 

Next morning after a good sleep, lie-in and a bit of brekkie we headed back out on our bikes to Formby, following much of the Asparagus Cycle Trail which takes in the Formby Red Squirrel Reserve.  This was our main reason for this Jolly trip so we were a bit excited!

It was our first time seeing red squirrels and we saw plenty, which it turns out was quite lucky as we’ve spoken to some people who saw none when they visited.  There was quite a lot of activity when we were there and some of them came up quite close for a photograph. They’re smaller than expected in comparison to the greys, and it was a really special experience seeing them thriving in good numbers.

Here are some photos of our red squirrel experience visit and our day out n about on the bikes (so much better than me wittering on):-

The elusive red 🐿

Gorgeous 🐿

Lovely 🐿 shot

Close-up

Inquisitive 🐿

A Jay bird

 

Afterwards we cycled back to site and cooked tea on Jolly, spending a chilled evening before heading home about midday the next day.

Our next Jolly jaunt will be probably somewhere up Cumbria way.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Welltrough Hall Farm, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Last weekend we visited what we found to be a top rate CL site.  It was at Welltrough Hall Farm in Lower Withington, Cheshire.

This is an adults-only site which began as a 5-pitch C&MC Certified Location and has been extended to provide more pitches, all fully serviced and refreshingly spacious with hardstanding and a grassy area.  Some have wooden boundaries.  There are also grass pitches and a camping pod.

The original 5 pitches have the most impressive views across open countryside, although all have open views.   However, we found a cosy corner pitch (no 13) which was located by a small pond and trees.  It provided plenty of quiet and privacy.  Although most pitches are level, pitches 10-13 definitely need levelling blocks.  We were at the top of our ramps and still slightly sloping although this was no issue to us.

Facilities provided:- elsan chemical toilet disposal point, 2 portaloo-style toilets, showers (and one for doggies), washer/dryer, information hut, a farm walk and also a well signed walk through 2 fields to the local Red Lion Pub in the village of Lower Withington, about half a mile away.

We visited the Red Lion on our first evening for a chilled couple of drinks & game of cards in the bar area before moving into the dining area to eat later.  It was lovely food.  Would definitely recommend 😊

On site, our pitch provided a clear view of the impressive local landmark that is the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.  This is just 2.7 miles from site.

Lovell Telescope in distance

We visited Jodrell Bank the next day while out and about exploring the area on our bikes.  We spent a pleasant 1-2 hours there which was plenty of time for what we wanted to see.  It was a perfect winter’s day with sunshine but VERY cold.  It was pleasant walking around outside and seeing the Lovell Telescope up close.  We also caught a film (on continuous play) in the film pod indoors.  This gave an interesting, detailed insight into the history and current role of the telescope in space research. There are several other interactive and informative displays inside and a couple of cafes.  It’s definitely a worthwhile visit if in the area.

Tickets were £8 per adult (£7.30 without gift aid) but we saved 10% booking online in advance.  It’s also worth noting there’s work ongoing on the car park at present.  This didn’t affect us being on bikes but car parking spaces were reduced.

Other villages we cycled through during our day out included the old farming village of Goostrey, Twemlow Green and Swettenham.  We had planned on calling into The Yellow Broom for refreshments but it was closed when we arrived so we headed another 3 miles or so through Kermincham and into Swettenham.  It was worth the often-uphill effort because we found a fine country inn, purportedly haunted, called The Swettenham Arms.   It’s easy to cycle past as it’s tucked away to the rear of St Peter’s Church.

After re-fuelling with well-earned fodder, we headed back by just the lights on our bikes to site.

A great day and top weekend.   Roll on the next one!

Chatty Chappy

A chatty blue tit chirped “Cheerio!” as we left

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Chirk, North Wales

Last weekend Jolly took us to Chirk, a small town in North Wales between Wrexham and Oswestry.

We stayed at Lady Margaret’s C&M Club Site which is beautifully situated in woodland.  The site offers good sized pitches to suit all preferences, be it the shade and privacy of trees or open grassy areas.  We loved this site and the location, it’s pretty with a sense of space, and the sun shone too which always shows a place at its best.  We had noted some comments on the site reviews about facilities needing upgrading but we can’t comment on the showers because we used Jolly’s onboard shower as we always do. However, we used the toilets which were fine and spotlessly clean.

The wardens were very welcoming, smiling, chatty and laid back despite always being busy with a steady flow of arrivals and departures.

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The site is located beside Chirk Castle, a grade I listed 13th Century fortress built during the reign of Edward I.  It was sold to the Myddelton family at the end of the 16th Century and descendants of this family still live in part of the Castle today.  You can just lose yourself wandering through the grounds, admiring the ornamental statues, or join a guided tour of the state rooms, and visit the tea room and shop.

There’s a striking entrance to the Castle in the form of intricate ornate white wrought iron gates, bearing the Myddelton Coat of Arms.  Dated 1719, they’re the work of local brothers, Robert & John Davies.  We stopped a while at these gates to admire the intricate detail of the work on them.

Ornate gates at Chirk Castle

The gates bear the ‘Red hand of Chirk’.  A tale of how this symbol came about relates to a Lord Myddelton issuing a challenge to his twin sons as he lay on his death bed.  Chirk Castle was to be passed to his eldest child but he was unsure which son had been born first.  The sons had to race on horseback around the estate, the winner being the one who returned first to touch his father’s deathbed, thereby inheriting the estate.

Legend has it that as the feuding sons returned neck-and-neck running towards the chamber, one of the sons tripped.  Fearing he would lose the race and the inheritance, he drew his sword, sliced off his own hand and threw the bloody thing(!) onto his father’s bed thereby claiming his right to the inheritance.

Lucky that he had his sword ‘handy’ wasn’t it …

We noticed this symbol in places throughout Chirk as we wandered around the town on our first afternoon.  It’s about a half hour walk from site but we rode our bikes down.  We ate later on at a café/restaurant on the main street, called ‘The Castle Bistro’.  It’s a delightful, cosy bistro with a friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed some very tasty, well presented food washed down with a cheeky bottle of rosé wine.  Mmmm.

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The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk and we got out on the bikes the next day to enjoy a scenic bike ride and a little photography along the canal towpath from Chirk Railway Station, over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and into Trevor Basin (NCN route 84) where there’s a Visitor Centre.

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The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the tallest aqueduct in the world, with its 18 arches it stands at 38 metres (126 feet high) and was built between 1795-1805.  It’s recognised as being the first great masterpiece of Civil Engineer, Thomas Telford.  We walked our bikes across as you can’t cycle it, and the pathway is quite narrow with just enough room for people to pass by.  It’s quite an experience to cross it, especially if you aren’t too keen on heights.  You can take a narrow-boat ride across if you prefer.

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We stopped for a wander around Trevor Basin, and ate lunch at the Telford Inn there.  This building was initially called Scotch House, and the name is still visible in the glass above the doorway.  The house was used by the Supervisor of the construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and sometimes by Thomas Telford too.  The building was converted into a pub from a private dwelling in 1981.  We had a lunch snack here and a nice pint of Telford Tipple outside in the beer garden overlooking the canal.

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Afterwards we took NCN route 85 along the canal towpath into Llangollen, stopping off briefly for a swift one at The Sun, Trevor .  When we arrived in Llangollen we noticed it was very popular with visitors and no shortage of shops, pubs and restaurants.  It’s definitely somewhere to return to on a future Jolly adventure.  As it was, we had only called in to check it out and didn’t have a great deal of time to explore it much.

We cycled over Llangollen bridge to grab a pint at the Corn Mill an old mill turned modern bar/restaurant which has still managed to maintain a lot of its original features including the water wheel that turns behind the bar.  From the outside decking area, we watched the white waters of the River Dee and were lucky to see a steam engine departing from the station across the water.

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We then re-joined the canal towpath for our return ride back to Chirk.  In all, throughout the day, we probably cycled a leisurely 19-20 miles and had cycled up an appetite so we decided on tea at the Chirk Tandoori in town.  Not before Bri got pooped on by a bird outside the Hand Hotel though *snigger* 😮

Even early evening the Chirk Tandoori was full and clearly a popular place with locals.  The food and service was great and it was like travelling back in time as Indian restaurants go – we even got a carnation on leaving!  Lovely.

With that, another Jolly jaunt came to a close and the following morning the journey home flowed nicely, no hold-ups.  Next adventure will probably be Cumbria way.

In the meantime, I need to get to the gym after all that lovely fodder and before the next adventure! 😊

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Braunton & Saunton, North Devon

So our 2017 summer has begun with a 9-night adventure to North Devon, beginning in the village of Braunton which is situated at the centre of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about 5 miles outside the main town of Barnstaple.  It’s the most populated village in Devon, and did actually feel a little more towny than a village with no shortage of varied eating places, drinking holes and shops – if you’re a surfer this definitely seems to be the place to go (we’re not by the way!).

http://www.visitbraunton.co.uk/

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We stayed for 3 nights at Lobb Fields Camping & Caravan Park,  chosen due to its location between Braunton village and Saunton Sands.   This allowed us to explore the local area well on bike.

This site’s spread across 2 fields comprising 180 pitches, 107 of them have EHU and 10 are hardstanding.  Many are sloping.  There are also some seasonal pitches. There are 2 chemical disposal points and 2 re-cycling areas and facilities were good.

Both fields are open and exposed, giving it a very spacious feel. The night before we arrived the site had been battered with strong winds and our neighbour beside us had had his awning destroyed 😮  It remained quite windy there during our stay, but then it is on the coast of the Atlantic, so …

http://www.lobbfields.com/

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During our stay here we ate in the village at:-

http://www.theriversidebraunton.co.uk/

– a friendly, family owned place serving great food.  A cafe by day and contemporary restaurant by night.  We enjoyed excellent seafood dishes including sea bass, pollock, and scallops.

http://www.squiresfishrestaurant.co.uk/

– a long-standing fish n chip shop/restaurant recommended by Rick Stein.  We both loved the fish curry here.

The day after arrival we set out on our bikes, cycling the couple of miles from site to the Northern end of Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows dune system – England’s largest sand dune system.  There’s a car park, shop and cafe at this end. The weather began as overcast but soon enough some welcome sunshine broke through the fast moving clouds and stayed with us for the remainder of the day.

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Saunton Sands is a stunning 3-mile crescent of sand and is dog friendly.  Apparently, Robbie Williams filmed the video for his single ‘Angels’ on this beach.  The wild Atlantic waves attract many surfers, windsurfers, and kite surfers and it’s great to just sit and watch from the beach.

We stayed a while just wandering along the beach before cycling (sometimes walking and pushing!) on from Saunton past the Saunton Sands Hotels where we took in more impressive views right out to sea on one side and back across the dunes and burrows on the other.  From there we climbed up the hill and down into Croyde.  Don’t forget to look back as you go up, some of the views are breathtaking.  Be careful though because there’s a fair bit of traffic at times along this road.

When you reach the top of the hill and turn the bend you’re rewarded with magnificent views down towards Croyde Bay and the picturesque village of Croyde, with its numerous thatched cottages.   It’s a pleasant downhill cycle here.  We’d definitely recommend visiting Croyde if in the area.

http://www.croydedevon.co.uk/

We had a pitstop pint (or two 😉 ) at the characterful Thatch Inn and enjoyed some sunshine for an hour or so.

http://www.thethatchcroyde.com/

We then just HAD to call into Croyde’s Ice Cream Parlour further down the road.  We wouldn’t necessarily have stopped for ice cream had there not been a sign on the shop stating “This is the famous shop that serves ice cream with clotted cream on top” … eek! well, we’re only human!

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Later, from Croyde, we cycled through nearby Georgeham village as part of our 12-mile circular route back to site at the end of the day, stopping off at a gem of a pub:-

http://kingsarmsgeorgeham.co.uk/

This place felt cosy and welcoming the minute we walked through the door and fortunately we decided to ask for a table just in time as it proved to be a popular choice. A big thumbs up for this place.

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Another uphill and downhill cycle ride along quiet roads and lanes helped us burn off some calories and took us back to site just before sunset at the end of a very enjoyable first day in North Devon.

Also during our stay we took the bus to the seaside resort of Woolacombe with its award-winning beach, lying between Morte Point and Baggy Point.  You drop steeply down into Woolacombe which was once a small fishing hamlet before becoming popular as a seaside resort in the 19th century.

http://www.woolacombetourism.co.uk/

The bus runs regularly from outside the George Hotel in Braunton and passes through Morthoe, a village mentioned in the Domesday Book.  It’s worth a saunter around this village too which has an interesting history, more recently in farming but further back in time it was a place used by smugglers and wreckers.

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Although we cycled and made use of public transport to explore the local area, there are a variety of walks to be had around this part of North Devon.

https://www.croydeunison.co.uk/great-walks-near-croyde/

There’s also a 6-mile stretch of the Tarka Trail passing between Braunton and Barnstaple, the largest town in North Devon, or parts of the South West Coast Path.

https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/

Well, part 1 of our 3-part North Devon adventure had come to a close and hadn’t disappointed.  Our next stop was to be just a half hour drive north along the coast to Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, Berrynarbor, just outside Ilfracombe.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Haltwhistle, Northumberland

Recently back from an enjoyable weekend at Haltwhistle.  Our first time at the Camping & Caravanning Club Site there, which is situated by the River South Tyne.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/northumberland/haltwhistle/haltwhistle

Our pitch was beside the pathway down to the river which, along with birdsong, was pretty much the only sound we heard on site.  We believe this pretty little site to be the quietest we’ve stayed at so far.  Bliss.

Haltwhistle is a small town in the North East of England just over the border from Carlisle, lying in Northumberland.  It is described as the geographical centre of Britain (although the village of Dunsop Bridge in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire is also often cited as the centre of Britain).

http://www.visitnorthumberland.com/haltwhistle

It is a couple of miles into Haltwhistle from the site and we cycled down the old railway track which can be accessed not far from the entrance road to site.  It’s a tarmac pathway with a gradual decline going and, obviously, more pedaling required coming back.  It follows part of the old 13-mile railway route from Haltwhistle to Alston (the highest market town in England).  The line was opened in 1852  to transport minerals from Alston Moor, and it closed in 1976.  By 1983, there was a narrow gauge railway operating along a small section of the line with plans to possibly extend this at some point.

The disused section from the campsite now forms part of the 26-mile South Tyne Trail (for both cyclists and walkers) which runs from Tyne Head to Haltwhistle.  It takes in the restored Lambley Viaduct, built to cross the South Tyne River.

http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/south-tyne-trail-walking-and-cycle-route

Haltwhistle is rich in Roman history and approx. 2 miles away is the central section of Hadrian’s Wall, which is the location of the best preserved section of the wall.  For around 300 years, Hadrian’s Wall was a frontier sprawling 73 miles coast to coast from Wallsend in the East to Solway Firth in the West.  It was built by approx. 15,000 soldiers on the instruction of Emperor Hadrian in 117 AD to protect the roman empire against barbarians, and was finished in under 6 years.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/hadrians-wall/

About 5.5 miles from Haltwhistle is the Vindolanda Roman Fort and Settlement with museum.

www.vindolanda.com/

It’s one of the North East’s most famous tourist attractions, particularly noted for the Vindolanda Tablets – considered some of the most important archaeological finds of correspondence (written on wooden tablets) discovered anywhere in the Roman Empire.  Speaks for itself that this is worth a read-up on and a visit.

We had great September weather during this trip and spent a lot of time cycling through the beautiful countryside.

For food and a good pint, Bri had researched The Black Bull Inn, in the centre of town.  It receives excellent reviews and we had planned on trying here, but by this time our travels had taken us away from town.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g616269-d1544997-Reviews-The_Black_Bull-Haltwhistle_Northumberland_England.html

At the end of our full day there, after covering several miles, we finished off along the South Tyne Trail, a little further on from site to call in at the Wallace Arms, Featherstone.

https://whatpub.com/pubs/TYN/6852/wallace-arms-featherstone

We arrived there half an hour before opening time, but the landlord saw us and opened up early to pull us thirsty cyclists a couple of pints 🍻  Nice one Mr Landlord!  👍  We had planned to eat our evening meal there but discovered that they don’t serve food.

Instead we sat outside and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine, a couple of real ales from a local brewery, and chatted at length with one of the new occupants of this now family run pub.  There were lots of lazy, grumpy wasps around as there are at this time of year, which we both spent a while dodging … until Suzie eventually jumped up dancing around, shaking her t-shirt to get rid of a wasp that had got inside and stung her armpit!  😖  Another pint eased the pain though 😃

On arrival back at site we ordered fish and chips from a takeaway in Haltwhistle that provided delivery.  The info and menu for this is in the site information file.  Good fodder before turning in for the night and our journey home the following morning.  A thumbs up for Haltwhistle.

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September sunset

Our next Jolly jaunt is back to Uttoxeter Racecourse where we went last year for the Marston’s Beer Festival.  This year we’re returning for the Oktoberfest weekend in … err … October funnily enough.  Roll on October!

Processed with Snapseed.

Home time

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Meathop Fell, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria

Whoop!  Our first Jolly jaunt for a few months.  A few months that we are very happy and relieved to put behind us, but enough about that.

This site has been on our ‘To Do’ list for a while now, and we finally got to spend a short but lovely two-night stay at the Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site in the South Lakes, approximately 2-3 miles from the seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands.

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Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site

The site staff were friendly and helpful and seemed keen for visitors to get the most from their stay.  We were informed of the direction to head for eateries, villages and the town of Grange-Over-Sands.  The site information hut is well stocked with leaflets, etc too.

This is such a relaxed site, where you can really appreciate the feeling of privacy, as pitches are a good size and many are separated by grassy areas or shrubs.  The site appeared almost full when we arrived but we found a perfectly spacious and sheltered corner pitch (No.75).  It was near to the play area but this was extremely quiet at this time of the season.  It’s a real haven for wildlife in and around the site and a treat to listen to the owls at night.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21935

We arrived on site just after lunch time and, after pitching up, heated up some homemade chilli which we enjoyed with homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  This was washed down with a chilled glass of Doombar.  Yum!

We spent a few hours just unwinding and enjoying the peace, quiet and beautiful surroundings on site.  The rain set in late afternoon so we got togged up and went out for a walk up to the Woodlands Hotel, just a 5-10 minute stroll away.  There’s a signpost at the site entrance (left out of the gates, then right at the pine lodges).  It’s a country house hotel which welcomes visitors from the campsite (dog friendly too), and where you can get decent pub style food and a good pint of Wainwrights.

http://www.lakedistrict-stay.co.uk/accommodation/Woodlands-Hotel.html

The heavens opened that night and a lot of rain was put down before we awoke to a fresh day.  The weather improved considerably from then on.  We fired up the cooker and enjoyed a cumberland chipolata sandwich before jumping on our bikes to explore the local area.

We decided to cycle to Grange-Over-Sands which was a pretty, scenic route from site, avoiding the busy A590 road.

We cycled along part of the promenade and could see in the distance a large group of Morecambe Bay Walkers.  There are about 30 walks a year across Morecambe Bay.  They take place during spring and summer. Most walks are undertaken by charity fundraisers, and cross the sands between Arnside and Kents Bank.  The walks are guided by Cedric Robinson MBE, the Queen’s Official Guide. In 1963 Cedric Robinson was appointed the 25th guide and for 53 years has escorted many thousands of people across the dangerous sands of the stunning bay.

Grange-Over-Sands is a delightful town of higgledy piggledy streets with an impressive clock tower and an array of shops, cafes, and a couple of pubs.  It’s easy to spend a few hours meandering around the town, which is what we did before cycling a little further afield to create a circular ride back to site through Lindale.

On arrival back near site, as it was such a beautiful day, we decided to ride a further couple of miles to The Derby Arms at Witherslack for tea.  Here we sat out and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine.

Another great Jolly adventure and the next is under two weeks away.  Can’t wait!

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri